"The alphabet by separating the sound, meaning, and appearance of a word separated the eye from the rest of the senses, especially the ear. Preliterate man is multisensual whereas alphabetic man is highly visual. "Between Homer and Plato, the method of storage began to alter, as the information became alphabetized, and correspondingly the eye supplanted the ear as the chief organ for this purpose" (Havelock 1963).
The Greeks created visual space, the geometric space treated in Euclid's elements. With alphabetic literacy visual metaphors for knowledge crept into usage in the Greek language. We use similar metaphors in English as the following examples illustrate. Our word idea derives from the Greek word eidos, "the appearance of a thing". Theory derives from the Greek word theorein, "to view" (the word theater has the same root). The term speculate derives from the Latin specere, "to look".
Logan quotes Havelock who associates the alphabetization of information to the eye supplanting in the ear. I am not quite sure what he means by the alphabetization of information, since encyclopedias were not alphabetized until the 1700's and the alphabetization of glossaries seemed to relate directly to the sound of the word, not its appearance. See this post.
However, he may simply mean 'as information was written in an alphabet' the eye supplanted the ear. Logan expands on this by saying, "With alphabetic literacy visual metaphors for knowledge crept into usage in the Greek language."
I am enquiring today whether alphabetic societies are unique in having visual metaphors for knowledge. If Chinese has visual metaphors for knowledge then what? Maybe this is a universal pattern related not to alphabetic literacy but to any kind of literacy. Maybe it is not related to literacy at all. However, I thought I could make a minor attempt to look at both Greek and Chinese and someone might build on this attempt and give me the real goods.
First, theorein - 'to view' is from θεωρέω - 'look at, view, behold, observe'; and theory θεωρία is 'contemplation and reflection' also 'sight or spectacle', Liddell & Scott, 1871.
Then idea from είδος - the 'appearance of a thing' also 'form, shape or figure' is derived from είδω 'know.' or 'see.' It is also related derivationally to οράω - 'see'.
That's what I find for Greek - now how about Chinese?
识 见 or 見識 jian shi - knowledge from 见 or 見 jian - see
表 象 biao xiang - idea from 象 xiang - shape, form, appearance
I suppose that Logan could argue that the morpheme for the spoken word also occurs in the Chinese word for knowledge. However, λογος - logos or -logy is a familiar morpheme for knowledge in English and it somes from λεγω - to communicate by word of mouth.
So far, the visual bias seems at least as true for Chinese as it is for Greek and Greek-derived languages. If "the eye supplanted the ear", then this was as true for Chinese as it was for Greek, it was a response to literacy, not just alphabetic literacy.
This is just one of the many times Logan confuses his contrast of alphabetic and non-alphabetic with literate and preliterate.